A new contract wasn’t the end of Real Salt Lake defender Andrew Brody’s big week

The RSL homegrown product capped off the week with a game-winning goal over Austin FC

(Real Salt Lake) Defender Andrew Brody runs during a Real Salt Lake practice in 2021. Days after signing a new contract extension with the club, Brody delivered a game-winning goal Saturday night against Austin FC.

First came the payday.

Then came the payoff.

Just days after Real Salt Lake’s Andrew Brody signed a contract extension, the defender capped off his big week with a game-winning goal Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“It’s a special, special moment, a special, special week for myself and my family,” Brody said after a 2-1 victory over Austin FC improved RSL’s record to 5-3-4 on the season.

Brody joined Real Salt Lake’s academy as a teenager, but his path to RSL’s first team has been anything but guaranteed. In 2019, struggling to find a place on the roster, Brody was looking for a new club — and even considering quitting the game altogether.

A stint in Austria’s third division revitalized his passion and his career.

This week, the 27-year-old was rewarded with a contract that would keep him at RSL through 2024, with a club option for 2025.

“It’s a moment that we’ve all dreamed of since I joined the RSL Academy when I was 16. It’s a moment I didn’t think was always coming, but I give a lot of credit to my parents for giving me the resilience to keep going and never give up,” Brody said Saturday. “And to top it off, the three points, that makes it feel even better tonight honestly.”

About those three points …

Real Salt Lake, coming off a disappointing loss a week earlier at Nashville, was trailing 1-0 at halftime. Midfielder Maikel Chang evened the score in the 55th minute. Then, in the 88th minute, Brody provided the heroics.

The defender, a starter in 11 of the team’s 12 matches this season, has needed to be versatile in head coach Pablo Mastroeni’s system.

With the game tied and Austin playing with 10 men Saturday, RSL needed Brody ready in attack.

“The confidence is there right now but it’s what the game called for as well,” Brody said. “The fans were really pushing us on and we knew we were up a man, so we could really get after them a bit and try to keep that intensity high, never letting them catch their breath. The big part was just us playing on the front foot, playing fast, trying to get balls in the box and make it difficult on them.”

In the 88th minute, it paid off.

RSL’s Anderson Julio cut back and sent the ball to the top of the 18-yard box. Brody used the inside of his right foot to curl the ball into the back of the net.

“I saw Ando get the ball, I was facing down on the line, and I saw a lot of their team just dropping off,” he said. “Nobody really was watching out for the top of the box, I just followed the play. Ando cut a perfect ball back for me on my right foot. The big thing was to just get it on target, put it on frame, hit it hard and hit it with confidence. The next thing I know, it just went in the top bin. It was crazy, honestly, I’m at a loss for words. It was super special.”

The best strike of Brody’s life?

“I think it was,” he said.